18 January 2002

Should bananas be part of a British breakfast?

By FW reporters

A WEEK-LONG celebration to encourage people to eat a better British breakfast will get underway amid claims that organisers should have focused more on home-grown food.

Farmhouse Breakfast 2002, which starts on Monday (Jan 21), aims to revamp the image of traditional breakfasts and show consumers that eggs, bacon and sausages can be healthy.

Award-winning recipe writer Jennifer John was drafted in help devise a booklet of breakfast suggestions. "We aim to promote the use of a wider range of British food at breakfast," she said.

But farmers have voiced disappointment that the booklet includes imported food, such as a recipe for a milk drink using bananas and cranberry juice.

John Breach, chairman of the British Independent Fruit Growers Association, said: "Its bad news. A good British farmhouse breakfast should always include British fruit depending on the season."

Ms John rejected the suggestion that a British breakfast should use only British ingredients. "Wherever possible we have used British food," she said. Among the British products included are Scottish porridge oats, Lancashire bacon, Welsh cheese, Lincolnshire sausages and Devon ham.

"Where cranberries are mentioned, raspberries are suggested as an alternative," Ms John added. "And as far as the bananas are concerned, we wanted to make fun, easy-to-prepare recipes that will encourage children to drink milk and eat porridge. If you can tell me where I can get hold of British bananas, I would like to know."

Wynnie Chan, a nutritionist working with the Farmhouse Breakfast project, said traditional British breakfasts could be healthy if they were grilled.

"Breakfast is a vitally important meal and a cooked breakfast can be an excellent way to start the day."

Nearly 200 events will be held by a variety of organisations during the week. In south-west England, Farm Stay UK members will focus on the tourism potential of combining local food and drink and farm accommodation, as well as promoting the re-opening of the countryside after foot-and-mouth.

&#8226 For more on Farmhouse Breakfast 2002, see Farmlife. &#42